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03 Oct 2022

IN PICTURES: Laois village comhaltas group scoops 19 All Ireland medals

A Laois branch of the traditional music Comhaltas group in a small village has scooped an amazing 19 medals at the Fleadh Ceoil na hÉireann.

After a two year hiatus the All Ireland Fleadh Ceoil na hEireann returned, hosted by Mullingar in Westmeath last week, where it all started back in 1951.

Camross Comhaltas were part of that great occasion, having qualified through Laois and Leinster in no less than 14 events involving 36 competitors.

They were also invited to entertain the crowds on the main Gig Rig on the Wednesday and Friday evenings and were joined by the talented dancers from The Gabriel Lynam School of Dancing.

On the competitions front Camross Comhaltas carried home 19 medals.

Laura Scott won First in singing in the 12-15 age category.

Jack Higgins won 3rd on Mandolin Under 12. Polly Nolan won a 2nd on Newly composed tune Under 12, and she won 3rd on Flute Under 12. David, Ellen & Maeve Scott won 3rd in Senior Trio while  Senan Shortall & Naoise Kettle won 3rd in Senior Duet.

The highlight of the Fleadh is The Senior Ceili Band competition that is staged on the final night. This year it was in the glorious surroundings of the Cathedral of Christ the King Mullingar a capacity crowd of 5,000 people packed in for the much anticipated event.

Camross Comhaltas were there for the first time in their history, with a senior band called The Grange. The branch won an under 18 All Ireland in 2003 but this was a whole new experience.

They were proudly representing their branch, county and province. Not since the glory days of The Bridge Ceile Band with 6 All Ireland titles and the Triogue in 2011 with a 3rd place finish had Laois featured in a Senior Ceili Band Competition so the pressure was on.

The members of The Grange are all very young and are friends who have played music in different formats over the years. The competition was live streamed by TG4 to a world wide audience. Not fazed by the occasion or their youth the band put in a powerful performance and by 10pm the sound of Lovely Laois was ringing out on the steps of the Cathedral as the Camross band was placed 2nd in the Senior Ceili Band competition 2022.

The band members are: Drummer Sarah Burke, Piano Senan Shortall, Concertina Caoimhe Lowry, Flute Katie Scully, Tara Fahy
Fiddles Ellen Scott, Naoise Kettle, Lily Kettle, on banjo is David Scott and accordian Conall Nevin.

The band’s leader and musical director is Patricia Clarke and the club is full of praise for her inspiring leadership.

"Her experience in music terms is unrivalled and we are hoping she puts down roots here in Laois now. The branch is also very lucky to have tutors Shona Nevin and Gina Reidy guiding our younger members to go on and achieve great things and enjoyment with their music." Camross Comhaltas said.

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